The ferocity with which friends and foes fight over feminism is frightful.  Facilitators foster talks to battle fallacy and forge paths of fervent fondness towards the female sex, and yet to be “feminist” feels forbidden.  Firmly believing that feminism is firstly forceful and ferocious is simply false.  Females, non-females, foster-fathers, first cousins, family financiers, friends, firemen, fisherwomen, football fullbacks, according to Jennifer Baumgardner and Amy Richards, should not fear the feminist within.  

       Feminism:  the theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes.

By this definition, followers of female equality should be free to fasten “feminism” to their identities as they see fit.  And yet, from fear and societal forces, feminists, me included, find it formidable to accept feminism forthrightly.  Instead, we fashion fancy definitions to fit our phobia, filled with qualifiers to furnish the phrase in fleeting hopes to flatter a word so frequently forbidden.   Baumgardner and Richards foresee women forgetting their flamboyant and failing forespeaking and instead forge a way of feminist acceptance.  I for one fickly foster a frustrating friendship with the word “feminist”. Though I am fixated on the fundamental freedoms of all females, I fluctuate between feminist and follower, finding flaw with qualifiers but forced to focus on the foul reputation of “feminist”.  It is foolish to flatter those unfair notions, but this stereotype finds following with the frail and friendly, since the notions are based on fundamentals of second wave feminism.

                Despite my flaky feelings, I am faithful to my feminist family.  While the term “feminist” may not flatter in the present, the future must focus on functionality.  The force, the power, is not in the word “feminist” itself, but the fabulous leaders finding equality for females.  If feminists, those who believe in social equality of the sexes, forever foil foolish fights of fixated foes, they can create filial forces and find equality and freedom.  Fulfilling the dreams of the movements’ mothers and fathers through functional equality, the movement that has no name will fill the foreground.  Finally, the faction of feminists will fail to falter; felicitously featuring “feminism” as first name to a fruitful frame of mind, one which will further fix former failures and “feminism” ,the word ,will no longer fall to farce.

Feminism is the F word?  Fuck that. 

In Double Jeopardy: To Be Black and Female, Frances Beale draws attention to the plight of the African-American woman by highlighting a list of injustices she has suffered. The things she said about economic disparities with respect to gender reminded me of another reading I had in my Medical Anthropology class, in which it was demonstrated that gender also plays a role in health disparities around the globe. We were assigned to read Culture, Poverty, and HIV Transmission: The Case of Rural Haiti, a chapter from the book Infections and Inequalities by Dr. Paul Farmer.

In the passage, Dr. Farmer analyzes the patterns of HIV transmission in the rural village of Do Kay. Prior to 1956, the people of the village were relatively prosperous because of the various crops they could grow on the fertile banks of a nearby river. However, the construction of a hydroelectric dam downstream of the village flooded the banks of the river, forcing thousands of families out of the area with little or no compensation for their loss. With no land to cultivate, the younger generations began to try their luck getting jobs in Port-au-Prince, the capital of Haiti and a hub of HIV/AIDS distribution.  It was then that the transmission of HIV into the village began.

Poor, hungry, and uneducated young women often went to the city to find jobs as domestic workers, and while they were there, they entered into short-lived sexual relationships with men who were slightly more financially stable, like truck drivers and soldiers. In terms of economics, it is clear that this would be considered a good move. Unfortunately for the women, these men often had unprotected sex with multiple partners. After the relationships dissolved, the women returned home with a little bit of money and asymptomatic HIV infections, which inevitably got passed on to their future partners and children.

The ability of these young women to protect themselves from HIV infection was and is greatly diminished by the gender imbalance that has been perpetuated irrespective of the “when” and “where” of the societies in which it has been observed. In the doubly weakened role of their relationships, it would be extremely difficult for these rural women to persuade their partners to use condoms. Worse still, the condoms that everyone should have been using may have been scarce and expensive in impoverished Haiti. The surprising and saddening observations of Dr. Farmer’s study serve as a vivid reminder of how the far-reaching power of sexism has a myriad of complex and unintended effects. 

--Sheri Balogun

While considering the word “feminism,” I began wondering what the male counterpart would be and thought of “masculinism.” Throughout our class discussions we have emphasized the fact that anyone can be considered a feminist; therefore, I thought it would be interesting to investigate the plight for economic, social, and political equality from a “masculinist” point of view. 

Despite popular belief, men have also been oppressed and denied fundamental rights throughout history. Kimmel, in his Masculinity as Homophobia, explores the idea that masculinity, and all connotations associated with the word, is a socially constructed concept that has dictated the actions of men for many years. Certain expectations accompany being a male. According to such stereotypes, increased masculinity is synonymous with superiority. Apparently, men should be independent, derogatory towards women, and successful businessmen. I remember in middle school when one of my friends was mocked because he enjoyed a seemingly feminine TV show. Although it was done in a joking manner, the teasing was still based on very real socially imposed stereotypes. 

Because it would have been seen as un-masculine to complain about being the stereotypical working male during the 1960s, we have no insight into how men of the time were actually thinking. We would have no idea if Bob from Brooklyn was content being the breadwinner for his family. His goal in life could have been to stay at home with is children. However, due to the socially acceptable ways during this time, Bob was confined to this way of life. It would have been unheard of that men of this time could possibly be upset with their lives, just like the women described in Friedan’s The Feminine Mystique, due to the vast opportunities they were presented with.

Throughout history, men have been discriminated against when it comes to particular rights, some of which include:
    ·  Discrimination when appealing for child custody
    ·  Longer prison sentences than women for committing the same crime
    ·  Absence of paternal leave in some countries
    ·  Improperly enforced laws criminalizing the rape of men

I am not trying to say either women or men have it better than the other; I am simply portraying the idea that both males and females have struggled throughout history and that both lack equality with regards to the other in various aspects of their lives.

I’ve said my peace. A(wo)men.

I’m sure you’re all aware of the recent repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell (DADT), a groundbreaking decision that will allow gays and lesbians to openly serve in the United States armed forces. Over the past eighteen years, 14,000 soldiers were dismissed from the military for being gay, and estimates show that 70,000 soldiers were forced to lie to keep their jobs because of DADT. (

Hearing about this in the news, I couldn’t help but be reminded of Michael Kimmel’s “Masculinity as Homophobia.” He actually said that manhood is “so chronically insecure that it trembles at the idea of lifting the ban on gays in the military.” In his view the insistence on masculinity in our culture leads men to exclude those who are “less than manly,” in order to reassure themselves that their own sense of masculine inadequacy will not be exposed. This concept is epitomized in the soldier, the apparent hyper-masculine red-blooded American man, strong and heroic in protecting our nation. The ban on gays in the military served as the ultimate example of homophobia, an institutionalization more obvious than most of the terrible fear of feminization.

Theoretically, then, the average soldier should be terrified of being identified as part of a group that includes gay men, lest he be accused of homosexuality or even sympathy for homosexuals. However, a surprising amount of soldiers, when directly asked, do not seem to find it an issue, according to multiple sources. A majority of soldiers suspected or knew some of their comrades were gay or lesbian under DADT, yet had not reported them or had any issue serving with them. ( 673/ns/us_news-life/) Another poll said 30% of soldiers would rather gays and lesbians be allowed to serve openly, and another 30% had no opinion one way or the other. ( article/2010/ 09/17/ AR2010091702444.html)  Though there are certainly many soldiers who did support DADT, results of polls like these seem to contradict the absoluteness Kimmel's theory suggests.

If we were to take Kimmel’s words as law in predicting the behavior of men, the repeal of DADT would have never come about. He said, “Shame leads to silence – the silences that keep other people believing that we actually approve of the things that are done to women, to minorities, to gays and lesbians in our culture…Our fears are the sources of our silences, and men’s silence is what keeps the system running.” Perhaps this repeal is a sign that our society has finally moved past some of its fears, or perhaps people have just realized that their personal insecurities do not justify silence in the face of blatant injustice and discrimination. Either way, the repeal of DADT is an enormous step in our country that I can only hope is a sign of things to come.

- Emily Attubato

Hello all! Nicole here.

            So all of this week’s discussion has me thinking… With the insight into what being a transsexual must be like and with this week’s reading on oppression, I feel like something obvious that hasn’t really been said in class needs to be said: it feels more like transsexuals are the oppressed sex than women.  Furthermore, going off of the video from today, it’s much worse for them because it takes a lot more to say something about it.  Last night’s reading talked about how the unsubmissive woman is called “man-hater” and otherwise unpleasantly labeled, but the defiant woman can also be respected. If a transsexual spoke out

1.     S/he’d be revealing a significant secret in his/her life.

2.     S/he’d be opening up h/herself up to a lot of criticism from a vast majority that does not know what living as a transsexual means.

3.     Furthermore they have to put up with a lot more in the way of surgeries and trying to fit in or be something they are not.

This brings me to another point, though.  Perhaps it’s because I am alive during the 3rd wave of feminism but I do not feel particularly oppressed by the males in my life or by society in general.  But I digress, for we had this discussion in class just earlier today.   

Anyway, I somehow feel like all of this categorization of men (males) and women (females) is not really something that “oppressors” do on purpose.  As a society--and especially a western society in which, according to Richard Nisbett, people analyze and categorize the information they intake—we tend to generalize and categorize. (to see more on Nisbett’s cultural and social psychological study see:   As a side note and personal opinion, the idea that masculinity is what it is right now seems to be more the fault of our natural tendencies.  Just a few evenings ago I recall that several of the girls on my floor were taunting one of my guy friends about his apparent lack of masculinity (because he has good hygiene, likes to neatly fold his clothes, etc.).  These girls are just as guilty as other guys, in this case, of making the generalizations about manhood, etc. mentioned in the Kimmel article and judging my friend based on that.  I would even argue that in this case and cases like this one, men really are oppressed—in this case by the standards set by society.  My argument is that they are limited in their behaviors and cannot necessarily be called the oppressors as individuals (at least, certainly guys like my friends shouldn’t be included in the list of oppressors).  Thus they are also oppressed. 

I don’t know.  Personally I feel less limited than I think they do because it is more socially acceptable for women to do most (what could be called “male”) activities than it is for men to partake in a gender a-typical behavior.

Sorry for such a long blog post, guys. Guess I got carried away there.

~Signing off